The Charger Blog

Biology Major Hopes to Help Combat Viruses Through Research

Whether he was gaining hands-on experience on campus at an international company, Brendan Straut '24 has built his laboratory skills and his confidence throughout his time as a Charger. He's excited to begin his master's degree at the University this fall.

April 23, 2024

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Brendan Straut '24 and Dr. Anna Kloc in the lab
Brendan Straut '24 and Dr. Anna Kloc, his thesis adviser, in the lab.

Throughout his time as a Charger, Brendan Straut '24 has had exciting experiences across campus. He's made connections and cultivated a network that includes classmates, mentors, teammates, and friends while also becoming a researcher.

A biology major, Straut is a member of the University's Honors program. He's been working on his thesis under the mentorship of Anna Kloc, Ph.D., examining human heart inflammation and how it could be related to viral infections.

"The laboratory experience I gained from the many labs I've attended along with my research and lab assistant job have helped me gain confidence," said Straut, a member of the TriBeta, a biology honor society. "I can bring this to any lab in the future."

'I was able to meet some of my best friends'

A leader on campus, Straut serves as a resident assistant in the University's Office of Residential Life. A student ambassador, he has led new and prospective students and their families on campus tours at Open Houses and Accepted Students Days. He enjoyed sharing with them what he has loved the most about his own experience as a Charger.

Brendan Straut '24 in the laboratory.
Brendan Straut '24 in the laboratory.

Whether he is attending a game or movie night on campus or going on a trip hosted by the Student Committee of Programming Events (SCOPE), Straut has taken every opportunity to connect with his fellow Chargers – and to enjoy all that the University has to offer.

An active member of the University's esports community, Straut particularly enjoyed making connections while gaming in The Stable, the University's state-of-the-art esports and gaming center. Whether he was competing against teams from other schools or gaming with his friends on campus, he had fun sharing his passion for esports.

"I was a part of the Esports and Gaming club at the University, which enabled me to meet some of my best friends," he recalls. "I have attended a multitude of gaming tournaments during my time with my esports team, and I even spent this current semester being a part of a Varsity Esports team."

'The world of biology'

Straut is now looking forward to accepting his bachelor's degree as part of the University's 2024 Commencement, a three-day event that will be held at the University's West Haven campus. As he completed his degree, he gained laboratory experience both on and off campus. While interning for Takasago International Corporation, a fragrance company, he explored new laboratory techniques and cultivated his networking skills.

Straut is excited to continue to build those skills as he continues his education at the University of New Haven. He will begin his master's degree in cellular and molecular biology this fall. He's particularly interested in exploring viruses and the immune system.

"I learned so much more about the world of biology, and the University helped me narrow down my field of interest from general biology to cell and molecular biology," he explains. "In the future, I hope to be able to help researchers learn more about viruses, and perhaps contribute to combatting them."